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Young activists mobilise online

Published:Tuesday | April 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Young Angolan protesters who have been able to mobilise online have invigorated anti-corruption and pro-democracy campaigns, traditional political activists in the southern African nation disclosed yesterday.

Elias Isaac, country director in Angola for the independent Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Marcolino Moco, a member of Angola's ruling Popular movement for the Liberation of Angola who is nonetheless a sharp critic of longtime President Eduardo dos Santos, and Horacio Junjuvili of the opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola party held a news conference in neighboring South Africa yesterday to discuss their concerns about the state of democracy in the southern African nation.

In South Africa, the three said, they have access to a free media lacking at home. Young protesters have circumvented censorship by using Facebook to spread word of gatherings, and have posted videos of their demonstrations, and the often brutal police response, on YouTube.

Human Rights Watch has called on the Angolan government to "end its use of unnecessary force, including by plain-clothes agents".

"It's a very small movement. What is so interesting about it is this disproportionate response," said Human Rights Watch researcher Lisa Rimli.